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Data: Disney+ scored big financial windfall with 'Mulan' streaming release

Alexandra Canal
·Producer

Disney (DIS) took a calculated risk releasing its live-action “Mulan” remake on streaming service Disney+ — which new data suggests is paying off.

According to exclusive figures provided by analytics research firm 7Park Data, nearly 29% of U.S. Disney+ users that accessed the app between September 1st to September 12th purchased the $30 “Mulan” film — far surpassing other popular (and free) titles on the platform.

During the company’s last earnings report, Disney said that the streaming platform has amassed over 60 million global subscribers. Assuming that U.S. households make up 50% of that total base (Disney has not yet broken out the exact number of U.S-based subscribers), 7Park’s data suggests that, at best, roughly 9 million users purchased the “Mulan” film for $30 a pop (29% of our estimated 30 million users.)

Under that top scenario, net profits would pile up to $261 million for U.S. markets alone.

Nearly 29% of active U.S. Disney+ users purchased 'Mulan' in data collected between September 1st and September 12th (Source: 7Park Data)
Nearly 29% of active U.S. Disney+ users purchased 'Mulan' in data collected between September 1st and September 12th (Source: 7Park Data)

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that, just like theaters, the buzz surrounding “Mulan” could easily wane and that percentage could dwindle from nearly 29% of active users to a far lower percentage of overall Disney+ subscribers.

Still, no matter how you slice it, the end result is a whole lot of cash for Disney — which will now maintain 100% of the profits verse a traditional theatrical release where box office revenue is normally split with theater chains.

Furthermore, Sensor Tower, an app download research firm, told Yahoo Finance that downloads of Disney+ spiked 68% from Friday, September 4 through Sunday, September 6, compared to one weekend prior.

Consumer spending in the app also spiked 193%, Sensor found, which can be attributed to customers paying the one-time $30 “Mulan” access fee.

To note, Disney has not yet provided any official numbers when it comes to “Mulan’s” performance, although CFO Christine McCarthy said the company is “very pleased” with what they’ve seen so far.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 04: General view of the atmosphere at AMC Mission Valley 20 on September 04, 2020 in San Diego, California.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 04: General view of the atmosphere at AMC Mission Valley 20 on September 04, 2020 in San Diego, California.

The film’s perceived success comes at a time when movie theater chains are struggling to attract attendees.

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, which hit U.S. theaters September 3, grossed over $207 million globally — but only about 14% of that came from domestic markets (roughly $29 million) — a disappointing result for a film once hailed as the box office’s saving grace.

Meanwhile, Disney’s international release of “Mulan” at Chinese theaters did little to soften the blow. The film fell flat overseas, amid increased backlash over its historical inaccuracies and stereotyping.

The lack of confidence in the overall theater ecosystem is likely why Disney will reportedly delay the release of Marvel’s “Black Widow.” According to Variety, the superhero flick — which was slated for November 6th — is likely to be pushed back to December or possibly even 2021.

The impending delay comes just days after Warner Bros. announced that “Wonder Woman 1984” will delay its theatrical release from early October to late December.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to show that 7Park’s data on “Mulan” reflected the percentage of active Disney+ users that had accessed the app over that time period. 

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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